5 Ways to Prep: Dark Tower
By George Rose
August 3, 2017
1) Jonah Hex (2010, 12% positive, $47 million budget, $10.9 million worldwide)
Stephen King is a legend, not simply for being a literary critical darling but because of the sheer volume of his library. When you’ve told hundreds of stories there is a good chance of few of them are pretty bad. So let’s take King out of the equation. Just like how comic books as a medium have diehard fans, King has diehard fans. If we remove the source, we can focus on the content. King and comics aside, what we have in common with Dark Tower and the following recommendations is a similar genre. Western + Fantasy = Dumpster Baby.
Going along with this week’s theme of duality, I am a HUGE fan of fantasy films and I couldn’t possibly hate western films more. Focusing on the bad, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised with westerns. Quentin Tarantino, a director I love, has made good western (Django Unchained) and good war (Inglourious Basterds) films, my two least favorite genresm which proves that I am capable of enjoying things I usually don’t like. It should go without saying that even though I like fantasy films, that genre has grilled a few turd burgers too.
With that said, for some reason when westerns and fantasy collide it makes for nothing short of a total failure. If you can’t take an established actor with recent acclaim under his holster (Josh Brolin), a super hot nerd-favorite “actress” with big boobs (Megan Fox), and a fanbase of source material that is generally willing to spend their money on even the worst the medium has to offer (comic book fans) to make a passable movie, then the problem is the genre. Jonah Hex isn’t a Marvel comic book movie, so there usually no need to see this film. It doesn’t fit into any cinematic universe other than being a western/fantasy Garbage Pail Kid. Go watch Bone-ah Hex before Dark Tower to see just how low the bar is for this boner killing genre.
2) Cowboys & Aliens (2011, 43% positive, $163 million budget, $174.8 million worldwide)
Shortly after director Jon Favreau launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe to great acclaim with 2008’s Iron Man and after Daniel Craig relaunched 007 with Casino Royale in 2006, these new Hollywood fan favorites came together to create Cowboys & Aliens, based on the 2006 graphic novel. Two different superstars, same fanbase, same two genres mashed up into a bucket full of Hershey squirts (look it up). If Favreau directed Craig in a space movie, it probably would be great. Oh man, if Favreau’s Zathura: A Space Adventure had featured Craig in the comical role that Dax Shepard occupied, that would have been AMAZING!!!
Instead we got Cowboys & Aliens. Aliens, for some reason, need gold. The old west was full of gold. Aliens come down, cowboys die, cowboys steal alien technology, aliens die, everyone dies but the audience. The audience that has to go to work to get gold to spend on movies we hope to love with celebrities we think we love that star in genres we should love mashed up together. Nope. Jonah Hex sucks. Cowboys & Aliens sucks. I bet Marvel could do it better!